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DOX: Here’s Monique Rathbun’s response to Scientology’s appeal of its anti-SLAPP defeat

Monique_Rathbun6We’ve got Monique Rathbun’s brief that was filed yesterday with the Texas Third Court of Appeals, and it’s a fascinating read.

The appeals court ruled recently that Monique can’t depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in her harassment action against him, but that was for a jurisdictional matter that didn’t affect the overall lawsuit.

This time, she’s opposing Scientology’s appeal of Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of the church’s “anti-SLAPP” motion. And if the appeals court sides against Monique this time, the lawsuit is over.

So there’s a lot on the line, and Monique’s attorney Leslie Hyman rises to the challenge. We’ve been telling you that it’s really amazing to see Scientology try to use a law — the anti-SLAPP statute — which was intended to help protect the free speech rights of resource-poor individuals from being overwhelmed by the deep pockets of a litigious foe. In fact, Scientology’s long history of litigious bullying and scorched-earth tactics was one of the inspirations for anti-SLAPP legislation in its early history.

But here, Scientology is using an anti-bullying tool against Monique Rathbun — and Judge Waldrip didn’t buy it. So Scientology is asking the appeals court to find that it’s Monique who’s the bully and who is trying to squelch the church (and not the other way around).

Hyman expertly explains that situation in the opening to the brief. We’ll quote a few examples.

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Mrs. Rathbun is an ordinary Texas citizen who turned to the courts as a last resort because of continuous, unrelenting harassment and intrusion by a powerful organization with seemingly unlimited resources. That organization, the Church of Scientology, has as its official doctrine the mandate to destroy its enemies, and to use litigation “to harass and discourage rather than to win.” Anti-SLAPP statutes, such as the Texas Citizens Participation Act, exist to level the playing field for citizens like Mrs. Rathbun against powerful litigation bullies.

Appellants concede that Mrs. Rathbun was never a member of the Church of Scientology. Nevertheless, she was subjected to Scientology’s notorious “Fair Game” tactics. She was harassed, intimidated, and humiliated by Scientology agents in accordance with Scientology’s written policy to destroy an enemy – Mr. Rathbun – by threatening what he holds most dear and seeks to protect – Mrs. Rathbun. Appellants now, as they did before the trial court, attempt to redefine Mrs. Rathbun’s allegations so as to shoehorn themselves into the parameters of the Act. They would have this Court disregard its own finding in favor of pretending that the case only pertains to what they claim is a three-month period in 2011. They want the Court to focus only on the isolated acts of the Squirrel Busters – a front group Appellant Church of Scientology International (“CSI”) funded to harass the Rathbuns in order to manufacture a “controversy” they could then use as the basis to claim they were a documentary company engaged in news gathering. That claim is made even though one of their own paid operatives has testified that when he was hired as a videographer for the Squirrel Busters campaign, he was told that the purpose of the group was “‘to make the Rathbuns life a living hell’, and to ‘turn their neighbors against them’ so that they would be forced to move.”…Mrs. Rathbun’s live petition expressly explains that the Squirrel Busters’ particular brand of harassment had ended nearly two years before this suit was filed. But the harassment had not ended. The campaign to silence and destroy the Rathbuns, which had begun two years before the Squirrel Busters, continued on in other forms for another two years.

Mrs. Rathbun’s lawsuit seeks to redress these actions and prevent future harassment. It is not a SLAPP suit. It is not designed to bully a Texas citizen into silence. It is not designed to deplete Scientology’s resources, nor could it, as those resources are vast. It is not about the exercise of First Amendment rights; it is about the right to be left alone.

As for the legal argument, we’re going to let the numerous lawyers who read this site give you their thoughts on the case law that Hyman has assembled and the attacks she’s made on Scientology’s appeal.

Here’s the document…

 

Monique Rathbun v. Scientology: Brief of Appelle e

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on August 8, 2014 at 13:30

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer

 

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